The revolution in high schools
Educational systems around the world are rapidly coming to the
conclusion that the traditional high school in particular is out of
Traditionally, high school breaks "subjects" up
into 40 or 45-minute periods, in which one specialist mathematics
teacher covers math for well under an hour – and then a specialist
science or social studies teacher covers science or social studies
for the same time.
But life is not like that. Every day for instance,
approximately 10,000 scientific research papers or articles are
published. No science teacher in the world can keep up to date with
that reading, let alone keep students fully up to date.
So more and more schools are now looking at how to
"integrate" studies so that students cover many
"subjects" at once, as part of research teams.
One of the best breakthroughs has come in the South Pacific
nation of New Zealand, at Freyberg High School in Palmerston North.
There Massey University, the school itself and IBM have combined to
produce effective integrated studies programs.
At any one week, you are more likely to find students out on
extensive field trips than working in a traditional classroom. And
when they do come back into a classroom to coordinate results, they
will generally do that in project teams, working on computers, so
that computer studies, too, is not separated from real life. In this way, they resemble more a modern business than a
traditional secondary school. Modern business nearly always revolves
around integrated specialists, both self-acting and working in
The information revolution now integrates that specialist
work. And it is this real-world that now demands an integrated
approach to schooling.
The Freyberg High School experiment has been so successful
that the entire school curriculum now revolves around integrated
studies. The world's biggest-selling book of the moment, The
Learning Revolution, by Gordon Dryden and Jeannette Vos, covers
the project in depth – and its impressive results.
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